As the workforce continues to become more diverse, employers must review their benefit plans regularly to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) continue to be represented. In a recent International Foundation webcast, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in Employee Benefit Plans, David Johnson and Sarah Mugo of Bolton detailed key opportunities to improve DEI, starting by defining how each intersects with employee benefits.

From 1979 to 2019, the number of nonwhite American workers doubled. What can organizations do to accommodate this growing diversity? They can start by understanding culture and how it correlates to the benefit diversification that attracts and retains employees.

What Is Diversity?

Mugo defined diversity as the condition of having or being composed of different elements. She said, “Your organization is made of individuals with a variety of benefit options. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t be successful because benefits have to meet the needs of ALL participants.” Participants will be asking, Do you offer the benefits that are most important to me?

What Is Equity?

According to Mugo, equity is the freedom from bias or favoritism; it’s giving everyone access to consistent benefit offerings that are affordable and meet their needs. Participants will be asking, Am I able to take full advantage of the benefits offered?

What Is Inclusion?

Inclusion is the state of being included. “It’s that simple,” said Mugo. She said that you can offer the benefit, but it’s important to demonstrate that all employees are valued by actually listening to them and looking at what they need to feel included and valued. The benefits provided should reinforce the message, “You’re important, and you matter to the organization.”

The webcast also covered major reasons to expand DEI efforts, including recruitment and retention, participant engagement, client satisfaction and compliance/liability issues. Johnson and Mugo also addressed common biases surrounding DEI in benefit plans and how to overcome them.

The webcast is currently available on demand, free to International Foundation and ISCEBS members. You can also check out the Foundation’s DEI tool kit to stay up to date on the ways you can successfully represent DEI in your benefit plans.

Anne Patterson
Associate Director of PR & Communications

The latest from Talking Benefits:

Anne Patterson

Marketing Communications Manager Favorite Foundation Product: Foundation Community. It’s like LinkedIn but only for Foundation members. They can post questions, share best practices, etc—all with fellow members who also live and breathe employee benefits. Benefits-related Topics That Interest Her Most: Workplace wellness (especially mental health), diversity, equity and inclusion, behavioral decision making, family-friendly benefits, payroll audits. Personal Insight: When she’s not busy analyzing the inner workings of her toddler’s brain (does anyone actually know?!), Anne finds joy in home renovation and décor, haiku writing, watching Jeopardy, creating charcuterie boards, and bicycling.

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